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'Iran's Revolutionary Guards test fire 9 missiles'

world Updated: Jul 09, 2008 14:25 IST
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Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards test-fired nine long and medium range missiles today during war games officials say are in response to US and Israeli threats, state television reported.

Gen. Hossein Salami, the Guards' navy commander, was quoted as saying the exercise, dubbed "The Great Prophet 3," would "demonstrate our resolve and might against enemies who in recent weeks have threatened Iran with harsh language." The drill was conducted in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormouz.

The television said the missiles fired included a new version of the Shahab-3 missile, which officials have said has a range of 2,000 kilometres. The Shahab-3 is equipped with a conventional warhead weighing one ton, it said.

The missile tests come less than a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed fears that Israel and the United States could be preparing to attack his country, calling the possibility a "funny joke."

"I assure you that there won't be any war in the future," Ahmadinejad told a news conference yesterday during a visit to Malaysia for a summit of developing Muslim nations.

Iranian officials have been issuing a mix of conciliatory and bellicose statements in recent weeks about the possibility of a clash with the US and Israel. Israel's military sent warplanes over the eastern Mediterranean for a large military exercise in June that US official described as a possible rehearsal for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, which the West fears are aimed at producing atomic weapons.

Iran says its nuclear programme is geared only toward generating electricity, not weapons.